How God Uses Suffering for Our Good: 7 Powerful Ways

In this article, Collene powerfully reveals how God uses suffering for our good.

My eyes lit up and my heart started to pound as I read the text. It was an invitation to an event with a bunch of friends.

An event I really wanted to go to. An event I knew would be an absolute blast. Which is why my heart broke in two as I typed out the words, “Thanks for the offer, but I’m going to have to pass.”

You see, this event would mean a full day of standing and walking . . . and I have a chronic illness that affects my physical capabilities. 

While my heart was screaming, “YES!”  My body was firmly stating, “NO.” 

The constant battle of having a heart that wants to do all the things, while living in a body that struggles to do simple things like standing or walking . . . is very disheartening. 

Especially when trying to comprehend how something that feels so bad could be a part of God’s good plans for me.  

   “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” 

-Romans 8:28 NIV  

lady-God uses suffering

If God loves us why do we suffer? 

So, let’s ask the hard question . . . if God loves us, why does He allow us to suffer

It doesn’t seem to make sense. If you love someone, you want to see them happy. Content. Thriving. Doing well. Comfortable. Right?

While this is true, deep down we know what we want more than anything . . . is what’s BEST for them. 

I have three kids I dearly love. And I try to show my care and concern for them by:

-Providing for them.

Encouraging them.  

-Spending time with them.  

-And supporting them in the things they love to do.  

But at the same time, I’ve done things that probably didn’t feel very loving to them. Like when I: 

-Took things away from them.  

-Held them down while a nurse gave them a shot. 

-Or let go of their hand while the medical staff pushed them down the hall to the surgery ward.

To my children, I did not appear to be loving or kind in all these situations. Because I purposefully allowed them to endure uncomfortable, unpleasant, and even painful situations. 

And yet, in the end, I did all of it for their good. Because I loved them.  

In each of those situations, I knew that the painful moments they went through would work out for their good in the end.  

-Discipline develops character and integrity.  

-Removing things protects them from pain and injury. 

-Shots can prevent disease.  

-Surgery can correct things or remove things that aren’t working right.  

The problem is my kids don’t have the same perspective I do. They don’t understand what I’m doing. They can’t comprehend why I would allow the things I’m allowing.  

Which is why they need to trust me.  

Because I know more than they do.  

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” 

Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV  

God Uses Suffering

In the same way, sometimes God allows us to go through some hard things. 

Because He loves us. And from His perspective, He can see how these things are going to work good in our lives.  

We may not understand what He’s doing. We may not be able to comprehend why.   

We simply need to trust Him. 

Because He knows so much more than we do about what we’re going through.  

If you think about it, God took the worst thing to ever happen . . . the death of God Himself in Jesus Christ. And He turned it into the best thing to ever happen . . . the provision of salvation for all humankind.

All we have to do is look at the cross to see that God is good at taking bad things . . . and redeeming them for good. 

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? . . . No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.” 

-Romans 8:35, 37 NLT  

How does God view our suffering? 

God views our suffering as a means to an end. While it hurts Him to see His children hurt, He also knows He can use their hurt for alot of good.  

We learn more from pain than blessing. A sick bed can be a better preacher than a sermon. And a humiliating failure can be a better teacher than a lecture. 

When we’re facing hard times, it can be tempting to ask, “Why?” But the truth is on this side of heaven, we may never understand why.  

A better question to ask is, “Why would God bring me into a situation like this? And how can this make me a better person?” 

We can ask God to examine our hearts.

Confess and repent of any hidden sins He reveals to us.

Let go of any idols we’re pursuing more than our relationship with God.

And surrender to His plan for us.  

A plan that is far grander than anything we could ever imagine. 

We can choose to feel hopeless about what we’re going through. OR we can choose to see God’s loving hand in it all.  

Comforting us. Guiding us. And changing us from the inside out.  

“So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace.

These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye.

The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.”  

2 Corinthians 4:16-17 MSG  

Where in the Bible does it say God uses everything for good? 

In Romans 8:28 we see God’s beautiful and comforting promise to work all things out for our good. 

  “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  

-Romans 8:28 ESV

Notice that it says, “All things work together for good.”  

Not some things. Not just good things. But ALL things.  

Muscles need both the stress of exercise and the rest of recovery to become stronger. Flowers and plants need both the sunshine and the rain to grow. 

In the same way, God can use both the days of laughter AND the days of pain to grow our lives into something beautiful.  

  “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

-John 16:33 NIV  

How is God with us when we suffer?  

We can see how God is with us when we suffer by paying attention to the little love notes He loves to send us. 

Such as: 

-A Bible verse that brings comfort and hope. 

-An inspiring song that comes on at just the right time. 

-An encouraging text from a friend. 

-A sermon that makes us feel like the pastor is talking right to us. 

-A beautiful sunset. A cardinal in the tree outside our window. Or a single flower blooming in the crack of a sidewalk. 

We just have to learn to pay attention to all the little ways God is showing us He is with us every single day. 

But another really important way God shows how He is with us . . . is through people.  

People can hug us. Put their arms around us. Sit with us. And put a hand on our shoulder while praying over us. 

Because God cannot be physically with us right now . . . He loves to use other people to show His love and concern for us physically in our times of need.

When we’re in pain it can be tempting to hide away or isolate which is exactly what our enemy wants.  

It is the animal that is weak, injured, or all alone that is picked off by predators. And the Bible tells us our enemy is like a prowling lion seeking someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

We would be wise to heed this warning. And choose to seek out the comfort of people who can help us bear the burden of what we’re going through.  

  “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” 

-Galatians 6:2 ESV  

lady in rain-God uses suffering

 7 Reasons Why God Allows Suffering for Our Good 

One of the most encouraging things to think about when going through something difficult is how God can use our pain for good. 

It helps to know our pain has a purpose. That our tears are not pointless. And that God can make a masterpiece out of the broken pieces of our lives.   

But when our hearts are breaking, it can be hard to envision what God is remaking. 

This is why we’re taking a closer look at 7 powerful ways God uses bad situations for good.  

 1) God uses suffering to purify our hearts. 

Suffering helps to purify our hearts.

Just like when I hold my kids down so their dad can remove painful splinters, God uses suffering to remove the splinters in our hearts. 

Splinters like sinful attitudes or behaviors. Selfishness. Pride. Things we may not have even realized had become idols in our lives. 

Like our own comfort. Peace. And happiness. 

A bank account that goes up more than it goes down. Being able to buy things we want (but deep down think we need). 

A reliable car. A steady job. Or a man who adores us. 

If left unattended, these things could infect our hearts and lead to bigger issues. 

This is how God uses pain for good. To remove the things in our hearts that could end up destroying our lives.  

Which is why suffering can be a mercy in disguise. 

Because suffering can be seen as a warning by a loving God to let go of what’s not good for us . . . and turn back to Him. 

When life goes wrong, it’s an invitation to get ourselves right with God. 

  “God may be doing something far more important and lasting in me than what is happening to me.” 

-Vaneetha Rendall Risner  

“For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” 

-Hebrews 12:11 ESV  

 2) God uses suffering to make us more like Jesus.  

Another way God uses suffering in our lives is to make us more like Jesus.  

Just like muscles have to be pushed and stressed to grow stronger. God can use suffering to develop our character and integrity.

  -Annoyances can stretch our patience.   

Betrayals can teach us how to forgive. 

-Pain can train us to pray diligently. And depend on God in everything.

-Tears can be cleansing and healing. Teaching us how to be honest and vulnerable with the God who already knows it all.

Suffering can produce great qualities like perseverance. Hope. Humility. Compassion and empathy for others. Resilience. Obedience. Peace. And joy. 

Trials can shape and mold us, so we look more like Jesus which is a very good thing.  

  “When I understand that everything happening to me is to make me more Christ-like, it resolves a great deal of anxiety.” 

-A.W. Tozer 

  “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” 

-Romans 5:3-4 NIV  

  “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 

-James 1:2-4 ESV 

 3) God uses suffering to grow our faith. 

Shortly after we moved into our home, we purchased two young trees.  

We discovered we could use ropes to anchor the trees in place for the first year, but after that, we’d have to remove them.

When the trees feel the pressure of the wind pushing against them it teaches them to send their roots down further into the earth. 

Which in the end helps them withstand the stronger storms to come. 

In the same way, when hard times blow into our lives, they teach us to send our roots down into Jesus. To pray fervently. To anchor our lives in the truths found in the Bible.  

And to cultivate a deeper dependence on God. (Because we know without a doubt, we cannot face this on our own.)  

“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you.”  

-Matthew 5:3-4 MSG 

4) God uses suffering to draw us near to Him. 

Suffering can lead to the most precious experiences of intimacy with our loving Father. Because in those moments, we experience His immense love, comfort, strength, and peace amid our sorrow and grief.  

When days are busy . . . it can be hard to find the time to sit still. 

But when life pushes us to our knees, it puts us in the perfect position to pray. And meditate on the One who never leaves our side. (Deut. 31:8

On the days when I can’t get off the couch without feeling light-headed and dizzy, I find I have the sweetest moments with my King.  

Because my inability to do anything forces me to sit still. To be quiet. And to simply be held in His Presence.   

And I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything . . . even better health. 

Hard moments remind us of what’s most important. Because when we’ve lost everything we think matters to us, we realize our relationship with God is the only thing that really matters. 

“Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” 

-1 Peter 4:19 ESV 

flowers-God uses suffering

5) God uses suffering to correct our perspective.

Suffering has a way of loosening our hearts to the loves of this world.

Reminding us this is not the way it was supposed to be. And getting us to long for eternity. 

Where everything will be made right. Where we’ll leave all our pain and suffering behind. And where our beloved Jesus will wipe away every tear from our eyes.  

Suffering brings immense hope to our weary souls to remember this life is not all there is. 

Suffering helps to correct our perspective by reminding us that this is not our home. We are simply traveling through. And someday soon we will be in paradise . . . FOREVER. 

“Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.” 

-Romans 8:18 NLT  

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” 

-Revelation 21:4 NLT 

 6) God uses suffering to help others. 

God uses our pain to help others because suffering fuels our compassion, sympathy, and empathy.

Suffering helps us understand a little bit of the pain they’re going through because we’ve been there, too.  

God knows He can use our story to inspire and encourage othersAfter all, if we made it through . . . maybe they can, too.  

Our seasons of suffering can be a sort of trail map for others. Helping them navigate their way through it all as we share: 

-What helped us.  

-What we wished we would’ve done differently.  

-And how our faith in Jesus has made all the difference.  

This is how God uses our suffering to help others. To give them hope. And to remind them that they’re not alone.  

“He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.” 

-2 Corinthians 1:4 NLT  

7) God uses suffering for His glory.

One of the best things you can do for a plant is to prune it. By cutting it back, you stimulate it to produce more flowers, more growth, and more fruit.  

The pain paves the way for a greater display of beauty. 

In the same way, suffering has a way of getting us to bear fruit. Helping us to bring God glory. And getting us to shine the light of Jesus into this dark world.  

So that many others can see the hope we have in Him. 

I mean if you think about it, how brightly does a candle shine in a well-lit room? Not very brightly. 

Our light shines brightest in the dark.  

It’s in our darkest moments when the world can see the light of Jesus in us most clearly. When we follow Him in our pain and suffering it proves to the world that we’re not just following Him out of self-interest or convenience.  

But that we do believe what we say we believe.  

If we only follow God when He gives us everything we want . . . well, that’s easy to do. But if we follow Him even when our world falls apart . . . well, that gets people’s attention. 

And it makes them want to know more about the God we follow.  

A God that brings hope when everything seems hopeless. 

When people see us smiling despite the pain, it causes them to want to know more about our faith.  

“When we move towards God in our pain, He can take it and turn it into something great.”  

Collene Borchardt  

“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”   

-1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV  

What to Remember in Your Suffering 

Nothing can separate you from God’s love.

Romans 8:31-39

Your enemy would love to use your hard times to destroy you and cut you off from Jesus.

But when you choose to remain in God’s love even in your suffering, you ruin the enemy’s plans.  

And then the very affliction the enemy tried to use to destroy you . . . can now work for you.  

“Affliction raised his sword to cut off the head of Paul’s faith. But instead, the hand of faith snatched the arm of affliction and forced it to cut off part of Paul’s worldliness . . .

The enemy became Paul’s slave and worked for him an even greater weight of glory than he would have ever had without the fight.”  

-John Piper 

When you’re suffering, you have a choice to make.  

You can choose to focus on all that is wrong in your life. Or you can fix your eyes on Jesus Christ. (Who completely understands what you’re going through. Because He suffered a lot in this world, too.) 

You can choose to trust in what only your eyes can see. Or you can choose to trust the God who sees everything.

You can look more at the bad things going on all around you. Or more on the good God is working in you.  

Because in God’s hands, even pain has a purpose.  

He will not waste your tears.  

No matter what you’re going through, you can rest assured that God is going to use suffering for His glory . . . and your good.


Collene Borchardt

As a chronic illness warrior, Collene Borchardt has a passion for encouraging women to cultivate a deeper faith in the God who loves them more than they could imagine. She is an author, speaker, and blogger whose writing has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, Living By Design, Her View From Home, Pray With Confidence, and other Christian websites. She has also been featured in the books Life Changing Stories and 40 Reminders God is in Control (A Proverbs 31 Ministries Exclusive Devotional). Besides writing, she also loves speaking at retreats, conferences, and other women’s events. For more inspiration and encouragement connect with her at

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Collene Borchardt

As a chronic illness warrior, Collene Borchardt has a passion for encouraging women to cultivate a deeper faith in the God who loves them more than they could imagine. She is an author, speaker, and blogger whose writing has been featured on Proverbs 31 Ministries, Living By Design, Her View From Home, Pray With Confidence, and other Christian websites. She has also been featured in the books Life Changing Stories and 40 Reminders God is in Control (A Proverbs 31 Ministries Exclusive Devotional). Besides writing, she also loves speaking at retreats, conferences, and other women’s events. 

 She and her wonderful husband Mick live in the beautiful state of Wisconsin. Together they have three adventurous children, three crazy dogs, and two spoiled cats. For more inspiration and encouragement connect with her at 


  1. LeonieT on May 7, 2024 at 8:27 am

    Thank you, this article was very insightful pertaining to my life at the moment.

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